Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter believes he saw enough from his side in the DStv Premiership draw against AmaZulu to give him and Amakhosi supporters encouragement for the rest of the season.
Chiefs needed a last-gasp Keagan Dolly penalty to salvage a point against Usuthu, but encouragingly they were dominant for much of a match which saw AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa in inspired form.
“I hope the supporters stick with us and they understand the journey that we are on. I think there is enough happening to encourage us to believe this could be very good if we can just shift that ten percent,” Baxter said after the AmaZulu game and ahead of this week’s international break.
The Chiefs mentor was full of praise for his team’s overall showing against AmaZulu, though he lamented their lack of concentration at key moments and their Achilles heel this season of not converting the raft of chances they are creating.
“I thought we played very well in the first half. What they had we contributed to with silly mistakes. They did not have many chances, but we had four chances and their keeper made unbelievable super saves,” says Baxter.
The Chiefs mentor is hopeful that the improved performance, as well as the dedication and commitment shown by his team, will carry on into their next game and has called on them to ramp up their performance a bit more.
Baxter had promised some tweaks in personnel and formation ahead of the AmaZulu game, and is pleased with the outcome, singling our defender Njabulo Ngcobo for his display in Durban.
“We went back to a 4-3-3 and we used Njabulo Ngcobo in a new role,” adds Baxter. “At times he showed he has got qualities in that role and he released Cole Alexander and Phathutshedzo Ńange to get higher in the box. We did get more bodies in the box, which we spoke about, when crosses were coming in we were getting on the end of them.”
He also had high praise for Njabulo Blom, who he said is “playing very well and is the best defender in the country at the moment” and for Reeve Frosler’s “big engine” which enabled Amakhosi to be more expansive going forward, backed by the solidity of Ngcobo as cover.
“We needed to take a risk and the boys did a decent job. The more the clock ticked, the more attacking players we were throwing onto the field. We had a massive attacking unit on. We created chances and one of them resulted in the penalty, which even though it was late, is very welcome,” says Baxter.
The “elementary mistake” that led to AmaZulu’s goal is the aspect of their game he feels needs improvement.
He is now calling on his players to keep up the effort and believes that with minor alterations Amakhosi will get things right.
“It only needs us to change small things and this can be a victory against a team that finished second last season,” says Baxter.
With Chiefs not in action till mid-October, Baxter will put up his feet a bit before the hard work begins again.
“As always the time you get free you want to spend with your family. I will probably visit one of my kids and let them take care of the old man. After that, it’s back to the grind and we will be working very hard,” concludes Baxter.